Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Madison, WI January 25, 2014 to April 27, 2014.

Real/Surreal is a circulating loan exhibition organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. The exhibition explores the interconnections between the real and the imagined in early modern American art, with an emphasis on Surrealism and Magic Realism. The exhibition includes paintings, drawings, and prints by Thomas Hart Benton, Charles Burchfield, Paul Cadmus, Philip Evergood, Jared French, Marsden Hartley, Edward Hopper, Man Ray, Charles Sheeler, George Tooker, John Wilde, and Grant Wood among others. MMoCA has added works from its own permanent collection, including a major watercolor by Andrew Wyeth and a significant painting by Marsden Hartley.

George Tooker, The Subway, 1950. Egg tempera on composition board, 18½ x 36½ inches. Collection of Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Juliana Force Purchase Award.

Edward Hopper, Cape Cod Sunset, 1934. Oil on canvas, 29 1⁄8 x 36 ¼ inches. Collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Josephine N. Hopper Bequest 70.1166. © Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper, Licensed by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Andrew Wyeth, "Winter Fields", 1942. Tempera, oil, ink, and gesso on composition board, 175/16 × 41 inches. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Benno C. Schmidt in memory of Mr. Josiah Marvel, first owner of this picture 77.91 © Andrew Wyeth.

Jared French, State Park, 1946. Tempera on composition board, 247/16 x 24½. inches. Collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. R. H. Donnelley Erdman 65.78. Photography by Sheldan C. Collins.

Federico Castellón, The Dark Figure, 1938. Oil on canvas, 17 3/8 x 26 ¼ inches. Collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Purchase 42.3. Courtesy Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, NY. Photography by Sheldan C. Collins.

Henry Koerner, Mirror of Life, 1946. Oil on composition board, 36 x 42 inches. Collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Purchase 48.2. Courtesy of Joseph and Joan Koerner. Digital Image © Whitney Museum of American Art

Man Ray (1890–1976), La Fortune, 1938. Oil on canvas, 24 × 29 in. (61 × 73.7 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Simon Foundation Inc.  72.129. © 2009 Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY / ADAGP, Paris

From a NY Times Review (images added):

Edward Hopper’s “Early Sunday Morning” (1930), his famous picture of storefronts bathed in sunlight, captures an experience of urban life with uncanny vividness. Yet a mood of aching loneliness and suspenseful mystery tilts it toward Surrealism. The Italian visionary Giorgio de Chirico may come to mind, as he does in the instances of

George Ault’s “Hudson Street” (1932),
a haunting view of an eerily quiet Manhattan industrial area, and of

Francis Criss’s “Astor Place” (1932),
in which two nuns enveloped in black habits ominously converse on a corner of a deserted city square. Notice the nearby sign (which says) : “Keep Right.”

George Tooker’s “Subway” (1950) shifts the balance further toward surreal dream. An anxious woman in a red dress pauses in an underground corridor with suspicious-looking men in long coats lurking in the background. But Tooker’s careful rendering of New York’s subterranean architecture grounds the nightmare firmly in a familiar, concrete reality...

While there is little here in the vein of Social Realist protest, disaffection from the mainstream of American life prevails.

Joe Jones’s “American Farm” (1936), a distant view of farm buildings on a high plateau surrounded by a deathly landscape of earth eroded into deep gullies and ravines, alludes overtly to the Dust Bowl, which added ecological insult to the injuries of the Great Depression. But it also conveys feelings of isolation and despair whose roots extended to a psychic geography reaching far beyond the borders of the so-called American Breadbasket...

Walter Murch’s soft-focus, hyperrealistic grisaille painting “Governor, II” (1952)
turns the works of an antique timepiece into a numinous, Newtonian metaphor. John Wilde’s 1943 self-portrait, drawn in pencil with exquisite refinement, resembles the work of a Renaissance neo-Platonist.

What is the spiritual catastrophe that seems to have almost all these artists in its grip, driving so many of them into morbid withdrawal from the can-do business of modern life?

Peter Blume’s “Light of the World” (1932),
a compact, nearly square panel painting made in the crystalline style of a Northern Renaissance master. Three rotund people gaze up at a bizarre rooftop construction: a central pole with decorative architectural fragments attached, topped by a cut-glass globe with glowing light bulbs inside. The title may be taken literally: electricity does light our world, after all. But it also invokes Jesus’ declaration “I am the light of the world,” and you do not have to be a Christian to appreciate how the promises of technology supplanted those of religion early in the 20th century, leaving a secularized world unmoored from spiritual foundations.

“Winter Fields,” a painting that Andrew Wyeth made in 1942 when he was leaning toward Magic Realism, puts it more succinctly. With the exacting touch and the pagan religiosity of a Pre-Raphaelite, he pictured a dead crow among dry, brown grasses, a baleful symbol for civilization at war with itself, a silent scream against the violent idiocy of man.

Imperial Augsburg: Renaissance Prints and Drawings

The Blanton Museum of Art brought to Austin (October 5, 2013 – January 5, 2014) a selection of works from Augsburg, a wealthy German city and center of trade known for its innovative printmaking techniques and its important role in the spread of Renaissance ideas from Italy. It is the first exhibition in the United States to focus on Augsburg’s artistic achievements in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, and works to advance the scholarship of one of Germany’s oldest cities whose rich Renaissance heritage has long been eclipsed.

The exhibition was organized by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and supplemented with loans from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Library of Congress, and other private and public collections.

Emphasizing the rich tradition of paper and metal works produced in Augsburg spanning 1475-1540, the exhibition reveals how, through its commercial ties to Italy, Augsburg was one of the first German cities to emulate the Italian Renaissance style as well as its cultivation of humanism and revival of antiquity. It also examines the fundamental role of imperial patronage in establishing the city’s thriving art market.

Situated in southwest Bavaria along the Alpine pass into Italy, Augsburg was founded as a Roman military fortress in 15 BCE by Emperor Augustus. During the reign of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I (1459-1519), Augsburg became the location of the Imperial Diet, a regular assemblage of rulers under the authority of the emperor. The patronage of the Habsburg Court and the rise of wealthy banking houses fostered a thriving environment with a diverse artistic community generating a prosperous center of manufacturing, printing, and armory production.

In a rare viewing opportunity, the exhibition will feature over 100 works of art including prints and drawings by Daniel Hopfer, Erhard Ratdolt, Hans Burgkmair and others focusing on religious and secular life in Augsburg during the onset of the Protestant Reformation. Emphasis is placed on the examination of new printing techniques born out of Augsburg. Color printing was pioneered by Augsburg native Erhard Ratdolt (1447–1528), and further developed by Hans Burgkmair (1472-1531) and Jost de Negker (1485-1544).

Featured in the exhibition was an impression of Ratdolt’s Christ on the Cross with the Virgin and Saint John:

Erhard Ratdolt (printer) (German [Augsburg], Fifteenth Century), “Christ on the Cross with the Virgin and Saint John,” 1491, color woodcut printed in black, red, blue, brown, olive and yellow and hand colored in blue, pinkish-beige and some touches of red; on vellum. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

the earliest extant, multi-figured, color-printed woodcut in the Western world printed with six distinct colors. New scholarship reveals that etching as a printing technique was first explored in Augsburg by armor etcher, Daniel Hopfer (c. 1470-1536). His detailed church interiors and intimate depictions of the Holy family uncover his advanced experimentations with etching on iron plates.

Important works by artists such as Albrecht Dürer, Hans Holbein the Elder, and Leonhard Beck were also  on view.

Alongside works on paper, the exhibition ncluded a 16th century suit of armor etched in the manner of Daniel Hopfer to exemplify the close connection between armor etchers and printmakers. A style of armor, often identified with Emperor Maximilian I, characterized by elaborate fluting and etching became popular during the later half of his reign. A helmet forged in Augsburg in this style, decorated with Italianate foliage will also be on view. In addition, visitors discovered the delicate metalwork of Augsburg artists such as Matthes Gebbel and Hans Schwarz, whose silver, bronze and lead alloy coins feature idiosyncratic portraits reminiscent of those from ancient Rome.

More images from the exhibition:

Hans Burgkmair I
The Fight in the Forest, c. 1500‐1503
Pen and black ink on laid paper
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Ailsa Mellon Bruce

Hans Burgkmair I and Jost de Negker
The Lovers Surprised by Death, 1510
Chiaroscuro woodcut printed from 3 blocks: black line block
and 2 tone blocks in shades of red on laid paper (early state)
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Rosenwald Collection

Hans Burgkmair I, Erhard Ratdolt (printer)
Saint Valentine, Saint Stephen and Saint Maximilian, 1494 and
Color woodcut printed in black, red, yellow, blue, and olive
green on laid paper
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Rosenwald Collection

Albrecht Durer Emperor Maximilian I, c. 1518
Woodcut on Laid Paper
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Rosenwald Collection

Matthes Gebel Emperor Charles V, 1530
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Samuel H. Kress Collection

Silverpoint, brush, and black and brown ink, and black chalk
heightened with white on white prepared paper
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Woodner Collection

Spice of Life: Jan Steen in the Mauritshuis

Mauritshuis, The Hague
3 March until 13 June 2011

The Mauritshuis hosted an exhibition focusing on Jan Steen (1626-1679). The museum owns a superb collection of fourteen paintings by this important Dutch Golden Age painter. Loans from other museums and private collections were displayed alongside highlights from the Mauritshuis’s collection, such as

‘The Poultry Yard’,

‘Girl Eating Oysters’

and ‘As the Old Sing, So Twitter the Young'.

This display will give visitors the opportunity to become acquainted with Steen’s versatility, sense of humour and unrivalled talent as a storyteller. Jan Steen always packed his images full of anecdotal and humorous details, his work epitomises the ‘spice of life’.


The work of Jan Steen is at once familiar, humorous and exceptionally versatile. Not only did he paint peasants, burghers and the rich in his portraits and scenes of everyday life, he also depicted stories from the Bible and classical mythology, as well as proverbs and sayings. Moreover, he was the master of many styles, ranging from a meticulous and precise manner to a rapid and loose style of painting. It is possible that it was Steen’s wanderings that turned him into a jack-of-all-trades. He is thought to have trained under Jan van Goyen in Leiden, Adriaen van Ostade in Haarlem and Nicholaes Knupfer in Utrecht. Once his training was complete, he continued to move around, living in Leiden, The Hague, Delft, Warmond and Haarlem before eventually returning to his native Leiden. In contrast to his profligate image, Steen was a hardworking artist who produced a great number of paintings. Furthermore he held a number of important posts, whilst also being active as a brewer and innkeeper.


Jan Steen is best known for his cheerful scenes of people making merry. His boisterous images showing children running wild and undisciplined grown-ups who are invariably setting a bad example are so characteristic that they gave rise to the Dutch expression: ‘a Jan Steen household’, meaning a chaotic household.

The Dutch saying ‘to bring life to the brewery’ (the Dutch title of this exhibition), meaning to liven things up, is directly attributed to Steen. It comes from an anecdote related by the 18th-century biographer Arnold Houbraken. Steen, who also managed a brewery, had been neglecting his business and as a result, his wife urged him to keep things lively. In response, Steen purchased some ducks, which he allowed to swim around in a large hop boiler. When Steen’s wife came in to find the ducks flying around, Steen asked: “Now is it lively enough in the brewery?”

Like no other, Steen was able to poke fun at all manner of human weaknesses and vices. Spice of Life includes a number of painted proverbs. While these are all entertaining stories, there is also always a lesson to be learned.

The painting ‘As the Old Sing, So Twitter the Young’ illustrates in no uncertain terms that adults must set a good example to children, otherwise bad behaviour will follow bad.

And in ‘A Pig Belongs in the Sty’, the consequences of excessive drinking are there for all to see.

Genre Portraits

Jan Steen was always able to make something special of the few portraits he painted. This is true of

Portrait of Adolf and Catherina Croeser, known as ‘The Burgomaster of Delft’ (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam).

As well as being a painting of Steen’s neighbours – a distinguished gentleman and his daughter - this picture is also a genre scene, a cityscape and a small flower piece. Moreover, Steen has managed to combine several painting techniques in this work.

Steen’s original painting of a young girl and two servants in a poultry yard entitled Portrait of Jacoba Maria van Wassenaer, known as ‘The Poultry Yard’ is a firm favourite among visitors to the Mauritshuis. In it, Steen not only demonstrates his talents as a portraitist and genre painter, but also his skill at painting poultry.

Alluring Women

Steen painted countless scenes of young ladies involved in some way or another in affairs of the heart or more erotic pastimes. He depicted amorous young girls pining for their loved ones, scheming women deceiving their admirers and drunken ladies struggling to remember their virtue. It is the seductresses, more than the other character types, who draw attention. Steen places them in the spotlight and paints them with extra detail and care, often showing them attired in expensive and colourful clothing. Fine examples of this are ‘Girl Eating Oysters’

and ‘Woman Playing the Cittern’,

both from the Mauritshuis’s own collection,

and ‘Couple in a Bedchamber’ from the Bredius Museum in The Hague.


The richly illustrated book Jan Steen in the Mauritshuis, written by Mauritshuis curator Ariane van Suchtelen, accompanied the exhibition. This attractive publication, aimed at a broad readership, will telsl - in an accessible manner - the story of just what makes Jan Steen’s paintings at the Mauritshuis so special. The book also gives a brief overview of the popular master’s work. Available in Dutch and English.

Great site

FROM BELLINI TO TIEPOLO. Great Venetian painting from Sorlini Foundation

Sebastiano Ricci, Venere accorre da Adone morente

Benedetto Diana, San Marco tra i Santi Girolamo e Lodovico da Tolosa

Alessandro Varotari detto il Padovanino. Leda e il cigno

Canaletto, Capriccio architettonico

The exhibition at Museo Correr, Venice, FROM BELLINI TO TIEPOLO. Great Venetian painting from Sorlini Foundation, from October 29, 2005 to February 26, 2006 presented a rich selection of works from the vast Sorlini collection. These fifty Venetian paintings date from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century and usually hang in the various residences of the family. Here, they were brought together for the first time in a public exhibition that provides a most stimulating account of three centuries of art in the Venetian Republic.

This exhibition not only presented the public with an important collection of paintings produced in the Venetian Republic from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century, it also charted the growth of the collection put together by Luciano and Agnese Sorlini. The fruit of a love of art and a passionate interest in culture, the collection began in the immediate post-war period, initially to provide works that would embellish the couple’s homes in Lombardy and the Veneto. Ultimately, in 2002, it would lead to the creation of the Fondazione Luciano e Agnese Sorlini in the Brescia area, intended to make this extraordinary assembly of artistic wealth available to the public.

Housed in the neo-classical area on the first floor of the Museo Correr, the exhibition comprised fifty paintings from Venice and the surrounding area. Dating from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century, these normally hang in the family’s various residences, but were here gathered together to provide a stimulating insight into the development of art within the Venetian Republic. Amongst the works on loan one that stands out is the

Giovanni Bellini Madonna and Child (formerly the Contini Bonacossi Madonna).

However, it is the very completeness and variety of the works that was surprising. The artists represented include Padovanino, Sebastiano and Marco Ricci, Gianantonio Pellgrini, Jacopo Amigoni, Canaletto, Francesco Guardi, Pietro Longhi and Giandomenico Tiepolo; and the works – sacred images, mytholgical scenes, landscapes, vedute and portraits – effectively summarise the ideas, values and variety of artistic languages within Venetian culture as a whole.

Giandomenico Tiepolo Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well

In October 1750 Giambattista Tiepolo left Venice for the Bishopric of Wűrzburg in Franconia, called to decorate the dining hall in the Residence of the reigning bishop, Carl Philipp von Greiffenklau; later he would also be commissioned to do frescoes for the enormous ceremonial staircase in the building. With him he took his two sons, Giandomenico and Lorenzo; the former had already been his accomplished assistant for some years, the latter, though still young – he was born in 1726 – was also intended for a career as an artist. During the three years spent in Wűrzburg, Giandomenico not only assisted his father in work on the Residence frescoes but was also commissioned to do paintings for local notables. This is one of those works and shows the moment when Christ, halting on his journey from Judea to Galilee, reveals his divine mission to a Samarian woman who has given him to drink of the water of Jacob’s Well in the village of Sychar. Whilst still clearly influenced by his father’s art, the young Giandomenico also reveals himself capable of a more intimate, delicate artistic language. Perhaps this is to be seen in relation to the taste of his clients, in a Germany where Protestant pietism eschewed the triumphalism of the Catholic Church and saw religion much more as a question of individual sentiment.

Giambattista Tiepolo The Angel of Fame

This is one of the two surviving fragments from a large-format work painted for the ceiling of the main hall in Palazzo Grimani ai Servi in Venice, which was destroyed by fire in the early years of the nineteenth century. Perhaps that was when Tiepolo’s work was lost, leaving only the two fragments; the other became part of the Uffizi collections in the year 1900. Sources do not record the subject-matter of Tiepolo’s ceiling; but there can be no doubt that it served to celebrate the glory and power of a patrician family that in 1740 was recorded as being the second richest in Venice. This is confirmed by the presence of this Angel of Fame, whose trumpet sounds the glories of the family throughout the whole world; in the Florentine fragment there is a putto holding a laurel crown, which was clearly intended for the head of a Grimani who would serve as a symbol for the entire family.

Georg Baselitz: Exhibitions

Germany divided: Baselitz and his generation. From the Duerckheim Collection

British Museum
6 February – 31 August 2014

Featuring over 90 works by some of the leading names in contemporary art, this exhibition explores how six key artists redefined art in Germany in the 1960s and 70s and negotiated with the recent past, on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Half of the works on display are by Georg Baselitz (b. 1938), and 34 of the works in the exhibition, including 17 by Baselitz, have been generously donated to the British Museum by Count Christian Duerckheim. An additional loan of around 60 prints and drawings from the Duerckheim collection make up the rest of this fascinating exhibiton. The exhibition forms part of a series of shows and public programme examining Germany in 2014. A display of medals will show how Germany saw WW1 and an exhibition looking at key moments in the long history of Germany will open in October 2014.

Ein neuer Type('A New Type'), 1965, Georg Baselitz (b.1938), grey and yellow ochre watercolour, charcoal, graphite and white pastel on paper. Presented to the British Museum by Count Christian Duerckheim, Reproduced by permission of the artist. © Georg Baselitz

The works come from one of the world’s finest private collections of contemporary German and British art. Count Duerckheim has presented the Museum with key works by Georg Baselitz, Markus Lüpertz, Blinky Palermo, A.R. Penck, Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter. Count Christian Duerckheim formed his collection of contemporary German art largely from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s. After he first came across the work of Baselitz in the early 1970s, he decided to form a collection that would represent, through key works, the dramatic history of his own times. Count Duerckheim was born in Saxony, near Baselitz’s birthplace, and has always shared a strong bond with the artist which led to him forming one of the most significant collections of his early works in private hands.

The gift included a group of eleven drawings by Baselitz from 1960 to the late 1970s, together with six prints from the same period. They cover the principal phases of his career from the Pandemonium drawings of the early 1960s:

 George Baselitz and Eugen Schönebeck, Second Pandemonium (Manifesto), 1962
Offset Lithograph
35 1/4 x 50 in
George Baselitz and Eugen Schönebeck, Second Pandemonium (Manifesto), 1962
Offset Lithograph
35 1/4 x 50 in
and the development of his ironic ‘Heroes’ in the mid-1960s,


Georg Baselitz, Der Hirte, 1996 © Georg Baselitz

to the subsequent fracturing of his motifs to the eventual inversion of the motif from the late 1960s.

There are also an important examples by Richter, including his Pin-up and Installation drawings:

Ohne Titel ('Untitled'), 1967, Gerhard Richter (b.1932), Graphite and felt-tip pen on tracing paper. Presented to the British Museum by Count Christian Duerckheim. © Gerhard Richter 2014

the characteristic Ice Age meets cybernetics stick-figures of Penck:

Ohne Titel ('Untitled'), 1967, A.R. Penck (b.1939), watercolour, gold and silver paint on course light-green paper. Presented to the British Museum by Count Christian Duerckheim. © A.R. Penck/DACS 2013

as well as sculptural drawings by Lüpertz and Palermo, and a drawing and sketchbook by Polke satirizing the ‘economic miracle’ of post-war reconstruction in West Germany.

All the artists in this exhibition came originally from eastern Germany and migrated to the West, the majority before the borders were sealed in 1961. Some like Richter and Penck, who was the last to leave in 1980, had trained in East Germany, but it was in the West that their careers were established. As a generation they came out of the experience of growing up in the aftermath of a defeated Germany and its subsequent partition in 1949. Much of their work is informed by the sense of collective guilt experienced by the German people over its recent past, the country’s physical and psychological destruction, and the division of the country by two opposing ideologies – the democracies of the free West and the Communist socialist system of the Soviet bloc.

Count Duerckheim said ‘I am pleased to give this gift to the British Museum so that the important graphic art of 20th century Germany is reflected within its international collection. The exhibition and my collection is a story of change and movement, of life in progress. I have always felt this constant change and have gone with it, very much inspired by the artists I have collected. For me as collector it is a great honour to show my collection and to be a donor to the British Museum’

To accompany the exhibition, a catalogue will be published by British Museum Press: Germany Divided: Baselitz and his generation. From the Duerckheim Collection, by John-Paul Stonard. This scholarly and fully-illustrated volume will feature new research and previously unpublished material from major public and private collections.

Gagosian London Thursday, 13 February–Saturday, 29 March 2014

Most of what you see as freedom is de Kooning.

—Georg Baselitz
Gagosian London will present “Farewell Bill,” an exhibition of new paintings by Georg Baselitz. Thursday, 13 February–Saturday, 29 March 2014

Seeking to expand the scope of traditional representation in art, Baselitz has constantly revisited and reimagined his chosen subjects over time. In this new series, he co-opts figuration as a vehicle for expression in energized, intuitively painted self-portraits—a new approach in his persistent subversion of the painted subject. Marking a clear departure from the retrospective impulses of the Remix paintings of the past decade, these vibrant new works focus afresh on the affirmative act of painting.

Licht wil raum mecht hern. Copyright Georg Baselitz. Courtesy of the Gagosian Gallery Photograph: georg baselitz 

Baselitz intentionally deprived himself of any overview of the works while in progress, rapidly painting each section of the canvas on the floor, then moving over to the next. Impressions of paint cans and footprints are traces of this process while each brushstroke records a decisive action. Titled with variations on the phrase Willem raucht nicht mehr (which translates literally as “Willem’s no longer smoking” and figuratively as “Willem’s no more” or “Farewell Willem”), these color-rich, instinctively painted self-portraits pay direct homage to the gestural figures of Willem de Kooning, whose primal paintings Woman I and Woman II Baselitz encountered as a student in 1958. Bursts of pure red, yellow, blue, and green echo de Kooning’s abstract paintings of the 1970s, five of which were presented alongside Baselitz’s early work in the pivotal exhibition “A New Spirit in Painting” of 1981 at the Royal Academy in London. Like de Kooning’s paintings of the period, Baselitz’s new works impart a watercolor-like fluidity, achieved through the thinning of oil paints with turpentine and their swift, loose application. Riffs on his own likeness transcend representation, imparting sublime moments of intuition and physicality. Disrupting the painted subject both visually and symbolically, Baselitz repeatedly portrays himself upside down, wearing a cap marked “ZERO” (the name of his paint supplier). Silhouettes are conveyed in the thin, intertwining lines of a reed brush, while explosive color fields reveal new painterly atmospheres.

Willem raucht nicht mehr. Copyright Georg Baselitz. Courtesy of the Gagosian Gallery Photograph: Georg Baselitz 

Baselitz is also known for his distinctive approach to sculpture: his roughly hewn and boldly painted wooden figures fuse traditional woodcarving techniques with primitivist and folk art impulses. He has also explored large-scale bronze casting. Folk Thing Zero (2009), a painted bronze self-portrait, is derived from a carved wooden form where the staccato hacks and scars of the original surface translate into a seamlessly cast sculpture. It is by thus conflating a range of dynamic influences through audacious methods that Baselitz continues to upend perceived limits of representation.

Georg Baselitz was born in 1938 in Deutschbaselitz, Saxony, and lives and works near Munich, Germany and in Imperia, Italy. Public collections include Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and Tate Modern, London.

Major museum exhibitions include Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (1995, traveled to Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., and Nationalgalerie, Berlin); "Aquarelles Monumentales," Albertina, Vienna (2003); Royal Academy of Arts, London (2007, traveled to MADRE, Naples, through 2008); "Prints: 1964 to 1983," Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2008); Galleria Borghese, Rome (2011); Pinacoteca, São Paulo, Brazil (2011); “Baselitz as Sculptor,” Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2011–12); Essl Museum, Vienna (2013); Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2013); Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain (2013); and “Georg Baselitz: Remix,” Albertina, Vienna, through February 12, 2014. A major survey of Baselitz’s paintings and sculpture opens at Haus der Kunst, Munich this September.

Excellent article

Monday, March 10, 2014

Clouet to Seurat: French Drawings from The British Museum

Four centuries of French draftsmanship were on view in Clouet to Seurat: French Drawings from The British Museum, opening November 8, 2005, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exhibition featured nearly 100 masterpieces, ranging from rare Renaissance portraits by Jean and François Clouet to selections from The British Museum's incomparable holdings of Claude Lorrain and Antoine Watteau, through stellar works of the 19th century, from Ingres and Delacroix to Degas, Cézanne, and Seurat. A majority of these works had never before been exhibited in the United States. Clouet to Seurat remained on view at the Metropolitan through January 29, 2006.

The exhibition was organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and The British Museum.

Philippe de Montebello, Director of the Metropolitan, commented: "This exhibition presents Metropolitan Museum visitors with a truly remarkable opportunity to see rarely exhibited drawings by master draftsmen, and to witness the development of French art unfold before them. Surveying such a broad period allows one to appreciate the cyclical nature of stylistic development. For instance, the battles waged in the 17th century between the Rubénistes, who favored color and naturalism, and the Poussinistes, proponents of line and the study of antiquity, are echoed in the contrast between the classicism of Ingres and the Romanticism of Delacroix in the early 19th century."

Exhibition Organization and Contents

Organized chronologically, Clouet to Seurat created a visually compelling picture of the evolution of French draftsmanship from the Renaissance to the end of the 19th century. Whether the drawings were made as part of a working process or as works of art in their own right, they reveal the mastery and exquisite beauty of the French artistic tradition in the artists' most direct and immediate means of expression. Among the works on view were two of a group of royal portraits from the 16th century by Jean Clouet (1485/90–1541) and his son François Clouet (ca. 1516–1572) that are rare examples of the early use of different colored chalks to produce naturalistic effects. Under Queen Catherine de Médici such royal portraits in colored chalks were collected and valued as independent works of art.

A more unified national style developed in the 17th century, in part due to the establishment in 1648 of the French Royal Academy (Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture), where the influence of Nicolas Poussin (1594–1665) gave rise to a cool and classicizing Baroque idiom. Another formulation of the Baroque style reached its apogee in the work of landscape painter Claude Lorrain (1604/5–1682) who spent his working career in Rome. Indisputably the French Baroque artist most beloved by British collectors, Claude is represented in the exhibition by five works — selected from among 500 in The British Museum's collection — which demonstrate the range of his production, from free plein air studies to the breathtakingly fresh drawings from his Liber Veritatis, in which he made record drawings of his completed paintings.

Head of Hebe, Study for the "Apotheosis of Hercules", ca. 1733–36
François Lemoyne
© The Trustees of the British Museum (2005). All rights reserved

The French Enlightenment was represented, on the one hand, by the sparkling trois crayons drawings by Antoine Watteau (1684–1721), the most original and influential Rococo draftsman, and on the other hand by the more cerebral drawings of Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825). Tendencies inspired by Watteau's informal and accessible style were stifled by the French Revolution of 1789, and with David at the helm, French art returned to a conservative classicism.

During the 19th century, great innovation often co-existed with a deep respect for the art of the past. Artists such as Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780–1867), David's leading pupil, and Jean-Louis Gérôme (1824–1904) continued the academic tradition. Romantics like Théodore Géricault (1791–1824) and Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863) and Realists like Gustave Courbet (1819–1877), all represented in the exhibition, laid the foundations for ground-breaking movements such as Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. Drawings continued to play an integral role in this evolution, even as artistic traditions were challenged and re-invented. Two studies for La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat (1859–1891) were on view, as were drawings by Edgar Degas (1834–1917), Paul Cézanne (1839–1906), and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864–1901), among others.

The British Museum Collection

The Department of Prints and Drawings at The British Museum oversees one of the oldest and finest collections of works on paper in the world. Founded in 1753 with the bequest of Sir Hans Sloan (1660–1753), which contained more than 200 French drawings, and built up over subsequent centuries through bequests and judicious acquisitions, the collection now contains over 3,500 drawings by French artists. In 1965, an important bequest of 16 works from César Mange de Hauke (1900–1965) enriched the collection significantly, including 13 masterpieces of the 19th century. Nonetheless, The British Museum's splendid holdings of French drawings are comparatively little known having long been overshadowed by its works from the Italian and Northern schools.

Exhibition Credits and Catalogue

The exhibition is organized by Perrin Stein, Curator, in the Metropolitan Museum's Department of Drawings and Prints, and Martin Royalton-Kisch, Senior Curator, Department of Prints and Drawings at The British Museum. Following its showing at the Metropolitan, Clouet to Seurat was exhibited at The British Museum.

The exhibition was accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with entries by Perrin Stein and an essay on French drawing and the history of the collection at The British Museum by Martin Royalton-Kisch. Published by The British Museum Press and distributed by Yale University Press.

From a review: (images added)

Nearly a hundred of the British Museum’s vast collection of French drawings, many of which are rarely displayed because of their sensitivity to light, are on view in this fine accompaniment to the van Gogh shows. Also running chronologically, "Clouet to Seurat" begins in the sixteenth century, including splendid works by the relatively unknown

Francesco Primaticcio ("A Seated River God with a Nymph, Two Dogs, and the Banished Callisto"),

Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues ("Oak and Dragonfly"),

and Pierre Dumonstier II ("Right Hand of Artemisia Gentileschi Holding a Brush").

Nicolas Poussin’s "The Holy Family with St. Elizabeth, the Infant St. John and Putti" is one of the highlights of the seventeenth-century gallery,

as well as Claude Lorrain’s "Coast View with Perseus and the Origin of Coral."

Several pieces by Antoine Watteau represent the Rococco style of the early eighteenth century, in addition to pieces by François Le Moyne and François Boucher.

A particular favorite is Jean-Baptiste Greuze’s "Return from the Wet Nurse."

The early nineteenth century brought neoclassicism and works by Jacques-Louis David, Camille Corot, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Théodore Géricault,

and Pierre-Paul Prud’hon (the marvelous chalk drawing "Standing Female Nude").

Realism took hold after the 1848 revolution, exemplified by

Victor Hugo’s "Landscape with a Castle on a Cliff,"

Honoré Daumier’s "Clown Playing a Drum,"

and Gustave Courbet’s "Self-Portrait" of the artist revealing a knowing glance.

Impressionism followed, with Edgar Degas’s very green "Dancers at the Barre,"

Georges Seurat’s studies for "La Grande Jatte:

(Georges Seurat, The Couple: Study for "La Grande Jatte", 1884, © British Museum)

(Georges Seurat, Landscape with dog: study for 'La Grande Jatte', 1884 Conté crayon, © British Museum)

Odilon Redon’s mysterious "Christ Crowned with Thorns,"

and Paul Cézanne’s "The Apotheosis of Delacroix," which features Degas, Pissarro, Monet, and Cézanne himself.